Lat: 43° 27.915 Long: 076° 30.816
Oswego NY is the Great Lakes terminus for the canal link to the Atlantic Ocean. This deep, well-protected harbor has a long, maritime tradition. It was originally fortified by the British as Fort Ontario The waterfront is a hive of activity during the summer and the waterfront festival is not to be missed. Although still a commercial harbor, it now hosts far more recreational traffic as sailors visit to enjoy what the city has to offer or stop to unstep their masts enroute to New York City and the Atlantic.
New York State Canal System
Oswego NY is the northern gateway of the New York State Canal System. The canal system follows the Oswego River some 24 mis/39 kms south to the Erie Canal. The canal is open from May til November and is a major water route to New York City. and then out to the Atlantic Ocean.
Transit is limited to daytime hours. Places to tie up for the night are plentiful. Locks open on demand. When approaching a lock, call on VHF 13 and/or signal with 3 horn blasts. Given a GREEN light, move into the lock. A RED light means 'hold station'. No light signal means either 'stand off' or tie up along the wall until further instructions are issued.
The lock walls are rough so have fender boards mounted or prepared to deploy. Good work gloves, extra lines and boat hooks should be at hand.
A word of warning here: There is an instinctive desire to use a foot to fend off when approaching a wall. I have seen that and have watched as 5-6 feet from me a man's foot was crushed doing just that. The scream was unearthly. There is NO brightwork worth losing a foot or fingers! Simply be aware and be careful. You will work off walls all the way to New York City and a moment's inattention can ruin a wonderful adventure.
A permit is required to transit the canal system. This can be purchased at the first of the locks you will pass through. Cruising speed is 10 mph/16 kmph/9 knots. The canal is less busy during the week and the passage can be a lovely cruising experience.
Approaching Oswego NY is relatively straightforward. From well offshore, the twin towers of the power plant west of Oswego is visible as are the towers of Nine Mile Point Power Plant east of the city. A note of caution though if you are coming from the west. Ford Shoals is located about 3.5 nm SW of the harbor entrance and about .75 nm offshore. It is marked with a Fl GREEN light. Leave this light to your starboard. Do NOT pass between the light and the coastline!
The harbor has a detached breakwater marked with Fl GREEN and Fl YELLOW lights. Once inside this breakwater, make your course approximately 178oT and continue towards the mid channel F RED light, passing the Al (Alternating) WHITE/RED and and Fl GREEN lights of the west and east piers respectively. Passing the mid-channel light, you can either continue south into the river or bear to the starboard to enter the West Basin with the two major marinas.
MARINAS, YACHT CLUBS, MOORINGS, ANCHORAGES
Oswego International Marina (315) 343-0688 VHF 16
This marina lies immediately on the west side of the river mouth just before the entance to the West Basin. With about 100 slips, it has 10-12 transient slips available. There is no fuel dock or pump-out station. There is water and power available at dockside. There are restrooms and showers as well as laundry service. Amenities include picnic and BBQ areas.
Wright's Landing Marina (315) 343-8430 VHF 9, 16
Wright's Landing is located inside the West Basin, immediately on your port. It has over 200 slips with transient docking for about 60 boats. There is no fuel dock or pump-out station. There is water and power available at docks. There are restrooms, showers and laundry facilities. They also have picnic and BBQ areas.
Oswego Yacht Club (315) 343-9459 VHF 9
OYC is located inside Oswego International Marina. There is no fuel dock or pump-out station. There are no water or power hookups. It offers overnight docking on a reciprocal basis.
Oswego Marina (315) 342-0436 VHF 9
The marina is located in the river on the east shore, just before the R"6" Fl RED buoy light. There is a videophone for reporting in to US Customs. There are approximately 4 dozen slips with about 1/2 reserved for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (diesel and gasoline) and a pump-out station. Although there are no maintenance or repair facilities at the marina, staff can help make arrangements for various types of repair to be completed by local firms. There is a gin-pole to step/unstep masts for theose entering or leaving the New York State Canal. There are restrooms, showers and laundry facilities. Amenities include picnic areas, BBQ's and a small ship's store which carries charts and limited boating supplies.
There is docking available for a modest fee at municipal docks that run along the east and west walls of the river. There are no services or facilities available. There is information posted detailing locally available services, restaurants and shopping. Be aware that the walls, especially the west wall, are rough and could certainly mar topsides. This is a good location to use fender boards - something you will definitely want to have if you are heading into the New York State Canal.
There is a protected anchorage in front of Breitbeck Park, west of Wright's marina in the West Basin. Make sure that your swing does not place you into the commercial shipping channel. As it is used 24 hours/day, make sure that you use your anchor light at night and a daymark during daylight hours.
REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE, PROVISIONING, BANKS/ATM's
There are repair and maintenance facilities in Oswego NY, located inland. For at-dock maintenance work, see Oswego Marina above.
Munski Auto Marine provides a mobile service for basic engine repairs.
Prop Healer provides a mobile prop repair service.
The closest grocery store for provisioning is Tops Friendly Market located in downtown Oswego NY.
There are a number of banks across town. Chase Bank is closest to the waterfront. It has ATM's as well.
Oswego Hospital (315-349-5511) is located downtown.
There are a number of pharmacies across town. Harbor Pharmacy (315-342-6822) is located downtown.
PLACES TO EAT
Avanti Bistro offers an up-sacle, Mediterranean dining experience. It is open for dinner only.
Canale's is a great family-style Italian restaurant. It has been a fixture in Oswego NY for 1/2 a century so they must be doing something right!
King Arthurs Steakhouse & Brewery serves award-winning steaks in an historic building downtown. This building was once a stop-over on the 'Underground Railroad', the secret network of escape routes for slaves fleeing slavery in the southern states.
The Office Tavern is a popular, casual restaurant.
Alex's On The Water is a popular waterfront restaurant. Dine in or out on their patio that overlooks the river.
THINGS TO DO/SEE/VISIT
The theme of freedom and the price of liberty runs deep in this city.
Fort Ontario was built by the British at the mouth of the Oswego River in the mid-1700's. From that time through to the end of WW II, there has been military activity. Static displays and historical re-enactments bring the past alive today.
Oswego NY was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. There are a number of sites around town commemorating its role in the quest for freedom for so many.
A century later, another group came to Oswego seeking refuge, safety and freedom. In 1944, nearly 1,000 Jewish survivors of the holocaust arrived in Oswego NY. The Safe Haven Museum and Education Center chronicles their story.
The H Lee White Museum houses a fully-restored LT-5 Navy tugboat that took part in the Normandy invasion on D-Day. There are a number of static displays as well as hands-on acticities.
The Seaway Trail organization runs guided tours through Oswego NY illustrating the city's Underground Railroad history as well as its military and maritime heritage. There is also the Oswego NY site that will give you many ideas on getting the most of your visit.
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